Bounding around in lamé tracksuits, flicking peace signs and banging on about Girl Power , it once seemed hard to imagine Mel C would ever grow up.But last weekend, 18 years after the Spice Girls first came screeching and zig-a-zig-ing into public consciousness, every headline writer’s dream came true: Sporty turned 40. Clean living (give or take a few birthday tequilas), the exercise regime of a Tour de France entrant – and a bit of Botox. We drank tequila, ate cake and that was wonderful,” she laughs.Now known as Melanie, even her name is all grown-up. “But the main thing I’ve finally learned over these past 20 years is balance.
If you have a tiny, tiny bit then I think it’s fine. "You see people who go too far and I never, ever want to become that person – that person whereby you lose the reality of what you look like. She is left facing the toilets and a heavy-breathing man reading a Kindle.
When I offer to swap, she immediately brushes me away and happily sits down, chatting to staff. Last Saturday night she threw a huge 40th gig and afterparty at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire.
And proving 40 is the new 30, she led from the front – stumbling into bed at an impressive 7am.
“It was amazing, like a dream,” she grins, over tap water – “large, because I’m dehydrated”.
“My assistant, who is basically my sensible side, put me in a car at 5am.
My brother stayed over and we dissected the night when we got back.
"It would have been a little bit lonely to have gone home alone. I had lunch with my family and a hair of the dog down the pub with a few friends.” Melanie has spent a few nights home alone in the 18 months since she split with her boyfriend of 10 years Thomas Starr, father of her daughter Scarlet, who is now nearly seven.
In between, that is, dates with a stream of gentlemen callers – some in the public eye, some not.
Two were at her bash last week – Chris Moyles (who calls during our interview) and Capital FM DJ Greg Burns.
A third, X Factor winner Matt Cardle, was sadly still holed-up in rehab. “I see him as my naughty little brother.” (Hopefully not, then.) Greg? Well, what about those age-old rumours about her sexual preferences then. “I’ve never dated a girl but there’s often been speculation, which I find quite funny,” she says.
She explains: “Setting the record straight, I am completely single. “We’ve been out and had fun – but we’re just friends.” As I frantically scrabble around for more men to throw at her, she laughs and cuts me off. “I’ve kissed girls but it’s more being silly than anything sexual. She may be in her 40s now, but 2014 could well be Mel’s busiest year yet.